The great Rahul Dravid had once shared, “no dream is ever chased alone!” You would think that “Mr. Dependable” was indicating about the collective effort that the likes of coaches, training staff, the family, and other support systems around a cricketer play in making one’s journey memorable. And surely Mr. Dravid wasn’t wrong one bit when he came up with this pearl of wisdom. But still, at the end of it all, what good is that chariot whose horse cannot run and cover the long leg of the mile? We understand that while the important and irreplaceable presence of a cricketer’s immediate support system- including the coaches, experts, and the family system- render the guidance and emotional support one needs to turn into a success, at the end of the day, the journey is about the ‘journey-man!’ Right?
In that regard, it is a fundamental truth, one that cannot be diluted with any philosophy or anything else for that matter that – so long as the cricketer is performing and doing all the hard work, not cutting corners, but demonstrating excellence all throughout, even a lack of support may not disturb the curve as such.
That being told, here’s something that every single performer or participant from India toward the 2020 Under-19 World Cup would want to remember. While finishing the 2020 Under-19 World Cup as the first runners-up is indeed a feat in itself and exemplified the sheer hard work one had put into reaching the very pinnacle of the tournament, today’s rising stars and therefore, tomorrow’s heroes of reckoning would want to understand that this is just the start. And that their real work toward the dream of donning the India jersey begins now.
This is down to the reason that unless and until the likes of Kartik Tyagi, Ravi Bishnoi, Yashasvi Jaiswal do not perform in the domestic rigors demanded by the Ranji Circuit, where they’d have to perform consistently, they may not really be able to strengthen their bid for India selection.
And that’s not all. Today, realistically speaking, a wholesome cricketer is also expected to deliver the goods in the game’s much-talked-about format, i.e., the T20 internationals.
And what better breeding ground to harvest one’s talent than India’s very-own IPL?
Those who made India proud by reaching the far-end of the 2020 Under-19 World Cup would be keen to make heads turn further, by attracting the attention of the famous mighty IPL franchises.
They would like to play and perform consistently in both the IPL as well as the domestic competitions, where a fine run may just attract the attention of the selectors, who, they’d hope to impress in a bid to reach the national selection for Team India.
The fantastic feat gathered by India’s promising young cricketers was duly noted by the former captain of the Under-19 triumph, back in 2000: Mohd. Kaif, a former Indian batsman.
Kaif, known for his majestic fielding and strong middle-order batting talent shared, “They will be better with this experience. They will now know to handle pressure better. Make no mistake, they are a good bunch of players.”
Furthermore, the Allahabad-batsman added, “Everyone knows Jaiswal and Bishnoi are good,” says Kaif. “But there are others like Priyam Garg, for example, who did not get as many opportunities with the bat. Left-arm seamer Akash Singh also has a very nice seam position. Kartik Tyagi swings the ball well. Even those that didn’t shine in the tournament could go on to become good players.”
Here’s the catch.
Kaif shared that in order to play for India seniors, one doesn’t have to necessarily play or perform well in the Under-19 World Cup. Yet, at the same time, those, who one has seen in the past, coming out on top in the Under-19 stage, haven’t succeeded in wearing the priceless Indian jersey.
That is where one understands that the road to India Under-19 team isn’t all that smooth and is often stifled with sardonic challenges.
Kaif’s sentiment was echoed by former India fast-bowler Paras Mhambre, who went on to share, “First-class cricket is tough and they will have to work harder. They will look beyond this, which is the Indian team eventually, and that will be the BCCI’s success. You want to groom them, and give them a platform to perform at the next level.”
Therefore, for now, while India must soak in the glory, of having reached the ultimate stage of the celebrated 2020 Under-19 World Cup, the rising stars would note that the job isn’t done; rather it has only just begun. In order to reach the pinnacle, they would have to perform at every single step.